The Void of the Real

In these days I’ve been lucky enough to see Malevich’s “Black and White” at Tate Modern and Turner’s last paintings at Tate Britain. The lucky coincidence made my mind travel through a common theme that both artists have dealt with: the void.

Nevertheless the value that each artist assigns to the void is at the antipodes. Whether Malevich expresses the impossibility to capture the real, so that beyond the white frame there is nothing, Turner uses the void of representation to translate the metaphysical value of the real. This is something that transcends the phenomenal and reaches the noumenal – borrowing Immanuel Kant’s terms.

In other words both artists are coping with the unknown form of the real, which is something that any of us – borrowing again Kant and Slavoj Žižek‘s insights- can grasps, so that we fill it with our imagination.

Imagination and fantasy are instruments we employ to reify the real, i.e. to give it a form that somehow we can understand. Malevich gave a black formless square, Turner assigned a metaphysical aspect, driven by a different cultural and religious context.

To deal with the void is like passing a threshold where certainties are gone; we cannot hide from ourselves anymore and those questions and riddles that oppress our minds fall on us.

By flipping what I have told at the beginning of the post, did I look for those artists? I do feel the void is haunting me and I cannot avoid to deal with it.. I am wondering around my thoughts looking for possible solutions, but unfortunately I can’t feel the same energy to translate such unsettling sense and get it out of myself through a new “form”, whather it might mean.

To be honest looking at those works puts myself in the right track, whatever the track is. Looking forward to acknowledging it.

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